It looks like our skunk problem has gone away, for the time being at least.  Jesse has been locking up the hens at night and I think he’s been perhaps feeding them their scraps in the coop at well, making it less enticing for vermin to come into our yard.

Mister kitty is still missing.  Well, missing may not be the right word.  We think another family in the neighborhood took him in.  I was going to put up fliers but I figure if he left us to go to another family nothing will be solved by us forcibly removing him from them because he’d just go back.  So at this point I choose to believe he is living as an indoor cat somewhere in our neighborhood.  Every day I come home from work Joline meets me under the carport and I ask her if she’s seen her brother that day.  She meows back at me but as I’m not fluent in cat I cannot say for sure if she is telling me the truth.

Benny has been flipping his ears frequently again and when I looked in his right ear it was all kinds of cracked up in there.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t mites but I had Jesse take him in to the vet to get it looked at.  Apparently the last time we were in there for Benny they were supposed to give us ear medicine to squirt in his ears but they never did.  They gave it to us for free this time, so that was cool, but the vet didn’t tell Jesse what the problem with the ear was and Jesse didn’t think to ask.  I’m considering checking out a new vet, this place doesn’t really seem on top of things.  We put the meds in Benny’s ears last night and he didn’t love it.  I make sure to give him loves and treats after it but he really resists the procedure and we basically have to force him down to make it happen.

Speaking of not on top of things, we still haven’t received Leo’s official paperwork, like his social security card.  At least, I don’t think we’ve received it yet.  For a few weeks in the beginning, maybe even the first couple months, I may have received it and just spaced it and put it somewhere.  I’ll have to call about it this week.

The dogs have been driving us crazy lately.  They started pulling out towels and sheets from the alcove in the hall and chewing them up and taking them into the backyard.  I was finally motivated to organize the upstairs bathroom closet to clean off some shelves but I haven’t put up all chewables yet.  The pups have also been getting into the clean cloth diapers and the unused disposables and shredding them.  Apparently we cannot leave anything remotely enticing around.  *sigh*

Jesse tells me we have a lot of grapes on the vine but I haven’t been back there yet to pick some.  Last year I was all about the grapes and this year I’ve been slacking.  It looks like the hens love them, though.

We’re still standing still on working on the back yard.  Maybe in the fall we will work on it, get some grass growing or something.  I read a lot of blogs from folks who live in less arid climates and I’m always so envious to see the lush greenery.  Of course, they have to contend with crazy mugginess but I could probably deal with that.

Jesse only has one year left of school before he graduates and we’re tentatively looking at the Pacific NW as a place to relocate.  I really liked my time in Eugene and Corvallis, so maybe around there somewhere?

I’ve been on an Amazon spending spree lately.  Today I purchased a mini stair stepper, a rowing machine, and a gazelle elliptical.  Jesse and I have been talking about trying to work out more and even though we have a rec center membership to a place that’s maybe half a mile away we almost never go there.  Plus, they have a very small cardio area, and they close at 9pm.  I figure if we have some stuff at home, maybe we’ll use it.  I also saw a slide board and those look kind of cool but I don’t know how often I’d use it.  I bet Ezra would love it…

Ezra’s birthday is coming up so I’ve been scouting Amazon for gift ideas and I’ve found a bunch of cooperative games that I want to get him.  Have you heard of cooperative games?  They are kind of neat in that you all work together instead of against one another.  It teaches teamwork.  I bought a game for Velvet for her birthday and it’s freaking awesome!  It’s called Hanabi and it’s most definitely not a drinking game.  Everyone gets four cards and they have to face outward so you don’t see your own, and everyone has to give clues about the cards and you have to try to remember where they are in your hand in order to play them in a correct order.  I really liked it, and that got me interested in more cooperative games, so now my Amazon wish list is filled with them.

I’ve been making us kefir smoothies and have lately started putting in spinach and turmeric and cinnamon.  Mostly it’s made up of kefir and fruit, but I’d like to get it to the point where it’s less fruit and more veg.  Something to strive for, anyway.

Skunks and kids

Have I told you the dogs were hit by the skunk again?  Yeah, that’s twice in under a week.  Well, Benny doesn’t appear to have been sprayed but Luca definitely was.  Again, the stench woke me from a sound sleep.  Both dogs were ushered outside and we sprayed down the floor with some Nature’s Miracle odor spray, and then we put together a mix of vinegar and water and brought the dogs back in.

We figured out Benny hadn’t been sprayed and put him in his kennel.  It’s kind of too bad in a way that it wasn’t him because he was very willing to jump into the bathtub to get his treats whereas Luca almost had to be picked up to get into the tub and then he had to be restrained so he wouldn’t jump back out.  We wet Luca down and then rubbed baking soda into his fur, then doused him with the vinegar/water mix and left that on for a few minutes, then rinsed him off.  He didn’t seem to mind getting dried off and went willingly into his kennel to receive his bully stick.

While we were bathing Luca, Jesse had put some vinegar on the stove top to simmer to help cover the skunk smell.  Well, it must have been boiling because we came out of the bathroom all of our nostrils stung with the tangy vinegar smell.  Both dogs were rubbing their heads on the floor, probably trying to get rid of the smell.  We’ve kept the dogs out of the chicken area the past few days so they have not been skunked again.  We’ll figure something out eventually.  I did hear that Nature’s Miracle has a product that eliminates skunk odor specifically and it’s gotten rave reviews so we WILL be buying a few bottles of that because the vinegar wash masks the scent and the Nature’s Miracle stuff is supposed to break down the oily compounds that cause the odor.

Jesse tells me that our grapes are growing like crazy and I’m looking forward to harvesting them again this year.  Really I haven’t been in the backyard much since the chicken run was made larger.  I don’t even know how to get back there now to access the grapes, though I’m sure I could figure it out.

We still are missing Mister kitty, we think a family in the neighborhood adopted him.  I haven’t put out missing cat fliers because he did come home once or twice so I’m assuming he just likes the other home better.  Maybe they don’t have dogs there.  Joline is still coming around, but she’ll only come inside when the dogs are kenneled.  Eventually when we get kittens again I think they will have a better time around dogs because they will grow up with them.  It’s just too hard to try to adjust both dogs and cats to each other right now.

There have been several nights in the past week where Leo has slept straight through the night.  It’s been fantastic!  He’s such a good baby.

leo leo2

We downloaded a new game onto the Xbox 360 for Ezra called Kinect Party and he LOVES it.  He wants to play it all the time.  He’s also surprisingly good at the Kinect bowling and boxing games.  He’s recently been getting familiar with the Xbox controller.  Now, I don’t want him to sit in front of a gaming console all day, but I don’t mind so much when he is playing active games that keep him moving.  And I like that he’s learning the controller because I feel it helps with hand/eye coordination and also multitasking.  As long as he’s not playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, I think his screen time is ok.

I’m a little hesitant about eating hard boiled eggs lately.  I had Jesse make me some and one of them had been rotten (which I found out when I opened the hard boiled egg).  It wasn’t really smelly or anything, just really grossed me out.  I think it may take a little time before I’m keen on them.

Jesse has smoked a couple tri tip steaks in the smoker and his latest one was awesome!  On occasion he’s had some problems getting a good smokiness imparted to the meat, but this latest  attempt was perfect.

I’ve been making milk kefir smoothies again.  Jesse and I really like them, and Ezra loves helping me make them but won’t drink it.  He will taste it when it’s done and I’m pouring it into a container and he says it’s yummy, but he just will not drink it when it’s in his own container.  Kids, go figure.

Skunk surprise

You know, I think skunks are pretty cute.


When I was younger, one of our daycare providers had a pet skunk with the musk glands removed.  I remember it being very friendly and curious.  It was such a novelty and it was awhile before I found out that skunks don’t usually smell so fresh.

We have skunks around our neighborhood.  I’ve smelled them in the past and was always happy they hadn’t found a way into our yard.  We have chickens and skunks are part of the weasel family so I figured they might be a problem but we’ve had chickens for a couple years now without issue.  Until now.

We came back from our last vacation and our cat Joline really stunk like skunk.  We looked up some home remedies and gave her a bath with water and vinegar.  To say she didn’t appreciate it would be putting it mildly, but it did seem to tone down the scent.

A few days later Jesse went out to get the eggs and found them smashed and skunk hairs in the coop.  Also, there were a couple feathers and a missing hen.  He plugged the hole where he found it had dug under the fence and into the yard, but it got in again so we decided to actually pen the chickens up at night and open the chicken run area to the dogs.  We figured that the dogs would keep the skunk at bay and it’d lose interest.  The first night it seemed to work perfectly.  This morning not so much.

I was woken from a sound sleep because of this nauseating, burning rubber stench.  Both dogs were in the hall by our bedroom and Benny was making these gagging, chuffing sounds like he had something nasty in his mouth he was trying to get out.  I ran to the back door and Luca was somewhat willing to go outside but Benny was not feeling it, it took forever to convince him to come to me and then to go outside.  I put the door retainer down to lock them out and then my phone alarm went off telling me it was time to get up for work.

As much as I’d rather be a stay-at-home mom, I was glad to leave this morning so I wouldn’t have to deal with the dogs.  I did some research at work and found out that the tomato juice wash is a myth, that it doesn’t actually help remove the stink, it just covers it up.  Apparently the only way to really get rid of the smell is to change the chemical composition of the oil.  The more the oil is exposed to oxygen, the more it breaks down.  So they have found that using a compound of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and detergent is the best way to do that.  Interesting, huh?

And as much as I feel for the dogs getting sprayed (and for us because our house is going to stink for a long time) we are still going to let the dogs roam the chicken area at night.  We didn’t lose any hens or eggs last night.  I’m not sure if the skunk was trying to dig under the fence in a different place and the dogs startled it or what, but it didn’t appear to stick around once it sprayed.  Hopefully it will get the hint and take off.  On the other hand, maybe it scared the dogs so badly that they now won’t have anything to do with skunks, “Hey buddy, you want those eggs?  They’re yours!”

Life as we know it

Yesterday marked my first day back to work.  It sucked.  Not the job itself, just the simple fact that I *had* to go back to work at all.  It’s been so lovely being able to stay home and enjoy time with my family, both immediate and extended.

This summer was a summer of trips.  First we went to California to hang out with the Salisbury side of the clan.  We stayed in a house called Tudor Rose Manor.  The website said it could sleep up to 22 people, but I really don’t think that would have been comfortable.  We had 17 people there all together, and two of them slept in their RV.  A couple of the couches in the living room were futons, and there were sleeping mats in a couple of the bedrooms, but it would have been very crowded indeed if we had 22 people sleeping in that house.

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Sitting up like a big boy...as long as he's propped with pillows

Sitting up like a big boy…as long as he’s propped with pillows

Aunt Velvet posed Ezra in numerous positions while he slept.  He's a sound sleeper, that kid.

Aunt Velvet posed Ezra in numerous positions while he slept. He’s a sound sleeper, that kid.

It also had an abundance of chairs, both inside and out of the house.  I think there were six picnic tables in the backyard, if that gives you an idea about seating.  There were two dining room tables in the kitchen and there were so many chairs they could not all fit around the tables.  It was a nice enough place, a little kitschy for my taste (think old-lady chic) but it was very close to the ocean and was in a nice, quiet neighborhood.

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We went to the aquarium while we there and also visited the Santa Cruz boardwalk (so fun!).

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Wasn't too sure about riding the carousel.

Wasn’t too sure about riding the carousel.


The boys and I hit up Dad and Dani’s house in Arizona for a couple days before we headed back home.  Velvet’s girls were also there for a couple days while we were there.  It was a very good visit with Dad and Dani, and Ezra learned how to float and paddle with the help of a life vest!  I love how he’s becoming more comfortable with the water, but it also makes me nervous because he could very easily jump in the water thinking someone will catch him, or that he’d naturally float without the vest.  We definitely need to get him into a swimming class.

We were able to relax at home for about a week before we headed off to the Baugher family reunion at Mom’s house.

We weren't sure why he fell asleep there...maybe he was playing hide and seek and we were supposed to find him?

We weren’t sure why he fell asleep there…maybe he was playing hide and seek and we were supposed to find him?

We met up midway with Velvet’s family and stayed at a hotel that night to help break up the driving.  We ate dinner in Ontario at a place called Country Kitchen and they had amazing fries!  They did not, however, have air conditioning and we were all sweating by the time we left.

brotherly love

brotherly love

I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me

The reunion at Mom’s was fantastic because we got to see a lot of relatives that we hadn’t seen in years (or in some cases never met) and I left with a closer feeling of my people.

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Grandma Baugher and her girls

Grandma Baugher and her girls

Grandma Baugher and Leo

Grandma Baugher and Leo

The trouble with returning to work after a lengthy time off is that my day isn’t mine anymore.  Usually at bedtime I’ve been telling Ezra “Love you,” and he says it back to me (it’s frickin’ adorable, take my word for it) and then I say, “I’ll see you in the morning,” and he repeats it back to me.  Only now I have to say, “I’ll see you tomorrow night,” because he’s not awake before I leave for work.

There are times when I feel like a bad parent because Ezra will want to play with me and I just can’t be bothered.  Perhaps I’m reading or watching a show or something and eventually he’ll wander off to play by himself or watch some YouTube videos.  And I know at the time that I should stop what I’m doing and play with him but I tell myself I’ll do it in a couple minutes and next thing I know it’s three hours later.  I know there will be a time where he won’t want to play with me and I should get in as much time with him while I can.  But really, I can only play with mega blocks for so long.  Or, I’ll get out his finger paints (which is a painstaking process to get it all ready) and he’ll paint for about three minutes and then be done with it.  So sometimes I justify it to myself that it’s not worth the effort.  I need to work on that.

As far as the new baby is concerned, he’s doing great!  At his two-month checkup the other day he weighed in at 16 lbs 9 oz and is 26in!  He is already in six-month clothes,he’s a beast!  Apparently he is in the 99th percentile.  He got his vaccination shots which he wasn’t too chuffed about and was a little fussy after that, but all in all he’s fairly chill.  He gets us up around 3:30am and then again around 6:30am which gives us a decent amount of sleep throughout the night.  Ezra loves him, always telling me how cute the baby is and lately he’s been wanting to help feed him and talk with him.  Ezra loves it when Leo smiles at him, thinks that’s the best.

My boys

My boys